Archive for February 2010

Friar’s Predictions for the Olympic Closing Ceremonies

February 28, 2010

There will be the mandatory fiddle-music playing, with colorful characters from Canada’s Voyageur past.  They will dance in exaggerated movements, and will be having a much better time of it than the audience will.

There will also be the mandatory wailing and drum music to recognize the First Nations.

Young children will clumsily dance around some extravagant diorama, to show us that the Youth is our Future.     The people who thinks this is cute will mainly be the children’s parents and grandparents.

Somewhere, there’s  going to be in Inukshuk.   You gotta have the Inukshuk.

Sadly, Red Green will not make an appearance.

Even better, part of the show will involve just one child doing something pensive and dramatic (perhaps extinguishing the torch).

Someone will fly over the stage, suspended by wires.   It will be very magical.

A Canadian singer will sing a touching song, and tens of thousands of people will hold their arms up into the air and sway with the music, brandishing the Glow-sticks they’ll have purchased.

People like me will go into a diabetic coma as our pancreas explode.

While all this is happening,  the cameras will randomly zoom in members of the audience, but only those who are absolutely enthralled by this whole pageant.

The whole thing will be very multicultural.

Some 75-year old IOC Member nobody recognizes will give a boiler-plate speech about athletic excellence, and the Hope of All Mankind.   Part of the speech will be in French, so as not to offend people in Quebec.

The Jumbotron will show the people of Sochi, who will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.   (Isn’t modern technology wonderful?)

The cost of this whole spectacle would have paid for 20 hospitals and 12 MRI machines.

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Window-Gazing Across Canada

February 26, 2010

Even though passenger jets have been around for over 50 years, they  never ceases to amaze me.

It wasn’t too long ago (1885) that the Transcontinental Railroad was built.   Before that, there were no road and very few towns.   It took months to cross the prairies, let alone the continent.

Today, we sit in a chair in the sky, traveling 8 miles a minute.   The time it takes us to read a few chapters of a book and eat a salty snack, we’ve crossed the Great Lakes, the seemingly endless prairie provinces, and we’re already on the other side of the Rocky Mountains.

When I fly, I can stare out the window for hours, looking at the landscape slowly passing below.  I like to bring an Altas to find out exactly where I am.

Sure,  I can easily see the same thing (and in more detail) using Google Earth.

But there’s something inherently satisfying in holding a map in your hands, and tracking your progress in real-time.

This was on my last flight, leaving from Toronto to British Columbia.

Here’s the Tobermory and Cove Island, on the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron.

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Next, is Manitoulin Island off the North Shore of Lake Huron.

A bit of trivia here.  Manitoulin is the world’s largest island within a freshwater lake.  In the center of the photo is lake Manitou, which is the world’s largest lake within a freshwater island.

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This is somewhere over Northern Ontario, past Lake Superior.  (I’m guessing around Quetico Park).     Northern Ontario has tens of thousands of lakes like this.    The area here seems to be a relatively pristine, without any logging roads or clear-cuts (which is pretty rare these days).

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Ontario is one big province. Two hours into the flight, and we’re still over it, near Kenora.

Kenora is in the center, with Sand lake is clearly visible under the wing-tip, in the upper left.

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Next, is just north of the City of Winnipeg, with Lake Winnipeg in the distance.

Lake Winnipeg is huge, about 400 kilometers long.  This is just the southern tip.   But from an altitude of 40,000 feet, it’s amazing how far you can see.  In the distance are Hecla and Black Islands, about 120 km away.

The east (right) of Lake Winnipeg appears dark blue, due to the boreal forest.   To the west (left),  the forest disappears and the farmland starts.   From this altitude, you can see the abrupt transition between forest and prairie.

Another interesting thing to note is the Red River Floodway rejoining the Red River, at the bottom-center of the photo.

The Red River is especially prone to serious flooding because it drains to the north.

During spring thaw, the downstream parts can still be iced up, unable to accommodate the melted icewater from the south.  Everything backs up and the river overflows its banks for miles.

The 43-kilometer Floodway was built in 1968, to divert the Red River around Winnipeg in case of such flooding.   It’s quite interesting to see this man-made ditch that goes on for miles.

It’s been used 20 times so far and has prevented billions of dollars of flood damage.

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Next is Riding Mountain National Park.   This park is located on an escarpment and is a virtual island of forest surrounded by a sea of prairie.

The park is roughly 100 km by 30 km.    It’s amazing that you can see it in its entirety out the window, with Clear Lake in the center.

The park boundaries are quite abrupt, where the farmland meets the forest.  The outline actually does look like the green spot on the map

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The next hour of the flight isn’t as exciting.    Small-town Saskatchewan and Alberta…in JANUARY.

(Does it get any better than this?)

Wouldn’t you LOVE to live there?

It was so flat and boring, I lost track of where we were.

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And finally….after anxiously waiting all those hours, I was waiting for the icing on the cake, the ultimate reward…

..to see the Rocky Mountains in all their glory!

And of course, they were all clouded in.

I swear, this happens EVERY time I fly out west.   Hours and hours of clear skies…and the clouds just HAPPEN to appear at the most scenic part of the flight.

Oh well….at least I got a few teasing glimpses now and then…which was all right.

And finally,there’s  landing in Kelowna, where suddenly the snow’s all gone, and it feels like springtime 2 months ahead of schedule…

(Is it any wonder that everyone wants to move out to BC?)

Feeling Blue

February 26, 2010

Friar’s Blogging Tip #157:   When in doubt,  show a painting of some fruit.

It’s almost guaranteed to generate at least one snarky comment.

A Twitters’ Guide to Selecting the Right Coach For Yourself (*)

February 22, 2010

(*) No, I did NOT make these up.   These are from actual bios found on Twitter.

(**)  With apologies to my Life-Coach Friends.   This isn’t’ about you…it’s about the spammers who insist filling on following me.

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Certified Life Coach
Nothing unusual here.  This one’s fairly mainstream by now.

Life Success Coach
It’s one thing to be a Life Coach.   But it takes that extra special person to take it one step further, and make it about Life AND Success.  I’d go with this one.

Certified Wellness and Career Coach
What if you’re not feeling well ?… AND you need help with your career?     Well, look no further…here’s your answer!

Effectiveness Coach-Consultant
I’m not sure about this guy.   He’s only about being effective.   I’d much rather go with the Life-Success coach, who covers all the bases.

Personal Wellness Coach
Again, I suspect this one is a Life-Success Coach wannabee.

Life Coach Guru Mentor
Wow.  This guy must be, like, the Life Coach for all the other Life-Coaches.

Time Management and Personal Effectiveness Coach
Actually, this is a pretty smart move.  In case the Personal Effectiveness thing doesn’t work out, you can always fall back on the Time Management part.

Certified Mastermind Executive™ Coach
I don’t know what a Mastermind Executive is, but the superscript ” TM ”  gives this one extra street-cred in my books.

Skin Fitness Coach
How….er…specific.  Who’d have thought so many people had skin fitness issues, that they need coaching with?  Which universities offer this certification?

Open-minded Relationship Coach, swinger, bi and just a woman.
I don’t know about you, but I find this one hot!

Online Fitness Coach and Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
For those who can’t afford a personal trainer: now you can hire someone to motivate you to go to the gym, via the internet.    Or, you can just go to the gym anyway, and try to interact with real-life people.  Either way, it’s all good.

I am a Christian Life Coach/Wisdom Coach
In case you wanted to know:   How would Jesus Life-Coach?

Diet Coach
I can save you a lot of time, and summarize everything in four words:   Eat less.  Exercise more.

Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach
I have no idea what this means, if it’s for sports or for personal fulfillment.   But regardless, it sure sounds important.

Spunky dating coach
Not just a dating coach, but a “spunky” one.    I like that.

Der Twitter Coach für effektives twittern
In case any of you Germans need coaching on how to use Twitter. (Apparently).   Very useful career choice, that…

West Virginia University Head Football Coach
No…wait…this one’s an actual Coach!    My apologies…

Viking Nursery Rhymes

February 20, 2010

Hyûmpeti Dûmpeti wanted it all.
So Hyûmpeti breached the castle wall.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men,
Couldn’t stop Hyûmpeti from plundr’ing again.

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Jörgen Pyörgen,
Lutefisk and rye.
Slayed the enemy and made them die.
But Jörgen let some get away,
So he could slay them another day.

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Old Mother Hybbörd
Smashed a Celt’s cupboard
To fetch her Great Dane a bone.
The door she did break
And found a nice steak
Which she shared with him when they got home.

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Hyörgenddy Byörgenddy.
My son Jon.
Went to bed with his armour on.
One boot off, and one boot on.
Hyörgenndy Byörgenndy
My son Jon.

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Thron,  Thron, the Viking Son,
Took a pig, but did not run.
He stood his ground: “I take what’s mine!”
“Tonight I feast!  On pork I’ll dine!”

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Yåck be nimble.
Yåck be quick.
Yåck go plunder the candle stick.

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Little Bo Peep
Can’t find all her sheep
But that’s the least of her worries.
With Vikings invading,
Her farm they’ll be raiding.
Run! Bo Peep! Run!
And hurry!

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Helga, Helga.
What’d I tell ya?
By Thor, does your garden sure grow.
With Silver Bells
And Cockle Shells
And enemy skulls in a row.

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Row, row, row your drakkar.
Boldly on the Sea.
Scarily! Scarily! Scarily! Scarily!
A Viking’s life, for me!

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Leif and Jìyll
Went up the hill
To claim a pail of water.
Leif did yell “Let’s burn the well!”
And Jìyll came pillaging after.

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Roses are red,
The color of Blood.
Be nice to Vikings.
Or your name is Mud.

Rejected Offerings

February 13, 2010

Behold!  

 Though the attempt at home-made bread failed.   

It was placed at Odin’s feet, as an offering to the woodland creatures. 

The woodland creatures, however, did not appear to appreciate  the rock-hard substance…

…and knocked over Odin, in the process.

Ungrateful varmints.

Random Ski Thoughts

February 9, 2010

You can get pretty interesting weather skiing out West.   

Literally, on the same morning, you can be skiing below the clouds…

in the clouds…

..or above the clouds. 

Another thing I discovered while skiing on a remote gnarly bump-run…

..is that someone had carved and burned a demon-mask right into a tree. 

Now..THAT…is AWESOME.  (And I’m sure the Vikings would approve).

Going up the chairlift is also fun…

..because just where you get on, they have this ad for “Oxygen”.

I have no idea what “Oxygen” is, but I’m sure it’s…er…wonderful. 

(I mean…look how HAPPY it makes that woman! )